Strasbourg round-up: EU must ensure 'accountability' over Gaza conflict

Written by Richard Howitt, Ernest Maragall and Ignazio Corrao on 18 September 2014 in Special Report
Special Report

MEPs are urging the EU to take an active role in resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Richard Howitt (S&D) is a co-author of the EU response to Gaza conflict resolution

The European Union must not itself be trapped inside the seemingly endless cycle of destruction and reconstruction in Gaza. Yes, Europe must provide humanitarian assistance, but at the same time start to play a substantive political role with Israelis and Palestinians, and with regional actors to reignite the Arab peace plan.

"After the failure of the UN to follow-up findings of war crimes on both sides in previous Gaza conflicts, Europe must act too in the United Nations to ensure legal accountability now" Richard Howitt

After the failure of the UN to follow-up findings of war crimes on both sides in previous Gaza conflicts, Europe must act too in the United Nations to ensure legal accountability now. The EU has been right to insist there can be no simple return to the pre-war status quo in Gaza.

The terms of the ceasefire achieved, the steps towards Palestinian reconciliation and new influences from Egypt and Iran are each fragile and complex in character but present new opportunities. I have long argued for our EU border assistance mission to employ an enhanced role to help break the deadlock on Gaza.

The European Union through its heads of missions reports and through repeated council conclusions has played a significant role in identifying the illegality of settlement activity.
But we should follow-up the logic of our own position by acting to effectively restrict trade access to our markets of goods and produce from the illegal areas.

My group will always seek to achieve a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. But it is time for us to invest our time and assistance not simply in rebuilding the ruins of war, but in building a lasting peace.


Ernest Maragall (Greens/EFA) is a co-author of the EU response to Gaza conflict resolution

The European parliament has voted a new resolution on the situation in Gaza. And once again we have made clear that the EU, in particular this chamber, only plays a secondary role, if any, in the Gaza conflict.

The adopted resolution further delays the assumption of responsibility on both sides and postpones systematically the adoption of decisions that could eventually lead to practical and positive results.

"Europe must assume a leading role in managing and executing the necessary actions in order to reconstruct the damaged facilities, which should be assumed fully by the state of Israel" - Ernest Maragall

Let me present four lines of action that should guide an active and effective role for the European Union in this conflict that is approaching its 50th anniversary.

First, institutional presence. The EU must show its real commitment by establishing a (permanent) parliamentary delegation with the objective of establish direct dialogue between the parties and to end the blockade of the Gaza strip.

Second, Europe must assume a leading role in managing and executing the necessary actions in order to reconstruct the damaged facilities, which should be assumed fully by the state of Israel.
Third, the EU must actively contribute to bring before the international criminal court all human rights violations contrary to international law. Silence must be broken to fight impunity and accountability must be demanded. Meanwhile, we must freeze the existing partnership agreement between the EU and Israel. In any case, we should expressly ban all arms supply.

Finally, the EU should tirelessly work for a two-state solution. We should avoid any decisions that lead to the establishment of new settlements by the state of Israel, which would make impossible a two-state solution, causing a new armed conflict.


Ignazio Corrao (EFDD) is a co-author of the EU response to Gaza conflict resolution

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is probably emblematic of the stupidity, senselessness and smallness of the human being, as well as the impotence of the institutions and international organisations of any nature and origin.

Ever since I was a child, since I can remember, the message that came constantly from that part of the world for me was one-way: bombing, destruction, civilian deaths, madness, war; an endless war, a war which, like every damn war, knows no winners or losers, but exclusively victims and losers.

"There are 7000 civilian prisoners, many of them held in Israeli prisons without process, even two ministers and 33 Palestinian parliamentary that must be released" - Ignazio Corrao

What will change for the Israelis or Palestinian civilians - orphaned, maimed, homeless, with their lives in tatters and the desert all around - when they learn that the bombs came from the right or from the left, from the east or from the west?

There are too many speeches are spent in institutions; beautiful, heartbreaking discourses and also many resolutions by the European Union and the United Nations. But still, in parallel, there are too many weapons sold to those who use them recklessly, improperly, crazily.

There are 7000 civilian prisoners, many of them held in Israeli prisons without process, even two ministers and 33 Palestinian parliamentary that must be released. I conclude by saying that the union represents the states that have made the history of the world, that have the power to end the diplomatic conflict and must necessarily do more so that international conventions and the principle of self-determination of peoples are complied with.

Interested in this content?

Sign up to our free daily email bulletins.

 

Share this page

Tags

Categories

Related Partner Content

The (not so) beautiful game
1 July 2019

Qatar’s blatant disregard for worker wellbeing is a stain on the football world, argues Willy Fautré.

Georgia ‘hungry’ for a political alternative
10 September 2019

Europe would be wise to watch closely as Georgian political contender comes under attack, argues James Wilson